I was walking in the woods recently, early morning as per usual, and all of the content for this blog started to download through my intuition. I felt the genuine inspiration and got out my phone to voice record myself.
I listen to that voice of intuition and the muse of inspiration. This was a fun blog post to put together, somewhat cathartic in allowing myself to name things out loud that I’ve spent years experiencing and examining (and healing).
I don’t write it to bitch, shame, or blame men. I do write it to call awareness – to female entrepreneurs who need some context for what they may be experiencing and for men to hopefully self-examine their level of allyship for females trying to make a difference in this world.
Do all female entrepreneurs want to make a difference? No, I’m generalizing. But we are living at a time when more women than ever are starting businesses in order to make the world a better place, in order to help fix inequities, and in order to make their living in creative and beneficial ways.
My business is a coaching and consulting company in the area of masculine / feminine reconciliation. I serve as a coach to any gendered human, but I specialize in the energetic dynamics between men and women as we come out of patriarchy and look to relate in new and sovereign ways.
I started my business in 2017 with a brief period of overlap as I left my former career in education. Perhaps because I work in this arena, I both notice nuance in gender relations as well as have had to deal with quite a bit.
Please enjoy my top 10 ways men have responded to my female entrepreneurship. Names may or may not have been changed because I may or may not desire to protect the identities of the men I’m referencing.
TOP TEN RESPONSES TO FEMALE ENTREPRENEURSHIP (in no particular order):
1: “Give me your energy for free but don’t make me look at my own shit, especially not my unresolved shit about my mama.”
Eivind ran an international men’s group and invited me to write for his members. I agreed to write a short column per week, and I agreed to do it for free! I was just starting off, after all, and this man had an established group. I was a guest in his space! I just offered over my energy for free, hoping it would lead to new paid leads.
I posted content weekly, and I noticed a very clear trend. When I uplifted and exalted masculinity, men cheered my posts. When I added in a bit of a call to action (“Please look at this shadow behavior, gentlemen”) the men would oppose or even attack me in the comments.
I pointed this out to the leadership of the group, and this is when I really began to understand that there was so much work for men to do even beyond joining a men’s group – they had to reconcile with the feminine and women. The leadership couldn’t understand this because they hadn’t done it themselves (something I have seen repeatedly in men in men’s organizations). Eivind “stuck up” for the men who were offended, rather than supporting the woman who was writing content for him for free. So, I stopped.
Explanation: This behavior is based in a lack of actual honor for the feminine and wanting women to continue to stroke the man’s ego (or… you know… other places) in order to continue to self-inflate and validate his importance. It’s also based in an unresolved Mother Wound where his internal little boy still kind of hates / kind of craves the feminine as Mother.
2. The dominator / withholding:
When I stopped working with an old friend in order to start my own business, I left with an ask that he look at the “good old boy” nature inside of the organization we had built together. Branden did three things in response.
One, he turned white as a ghost and looked like he was going to have a heart attack for two weeks because he found me to be so scary. Two, he never spoke to me again and had HR work up a deal with me to get me out of the door as soon as possible. And three, he refused to ever give any referrals, even though my new coaching business was an extension of services for the population we served. Everyone would have benefitted from referrals to my new company, but he refused based on temperament. I left an industry months earlier than expected with zero referral contacts given the stand he took.
All cooperation was out the window and he did what he had to do to cover his reputation among colleagues.
Explanation: This behavior is based in domination of women through withholding of resources, making it harder on the woman to succeed. This is very common in men who see women’s liberation and voice as a threat, and it’s scary AF for women going through it (which is the dominator’s point).
3. “I think I love you!”
There were many men, mostly in the periphery that I did not know well or at all, who, upon finding my work, thought that because I was a woman who understood and empathized with what men are going through, that I must actually be meant for them. I received many messages in my social media inboxes with such proclamations. “You get it! I think we’re meant for one another!”
Explanation: This behavior is consumptive and this man subconsciously wants to eat up the feminine and have it all to himself! It’s based in projection and unhealed Mother Wound (notice a trend there).
4. “Fuck you then, I don’t love you.”
Because of my work, some men who I partnered with did not expect me to have flaws. While in a way, this is flattering that someone would think this is even possible, this is also completely unrealistic and sets everyone up for failure. Also, there is a deep rescuer pattern in this dynamic, which I of course played into for a host of reasons, including: the vulnerability of this path including resource vulnerability, my own desire to partner, and the genuine desire to be met.
Explanation: This behavior of the rescuer/hero in men always backfires because it’s based on projections all around, and this man will find that his hero facade doesn’t know what to do with a real woman, and so he’ll reject her when he feels his own vulnerability, commonly following the path of the dominator or taking the fastest escape route possible. To the woman, this feels like harsh abandonment and a reiteration of a lack of support.
5. “I see you, and I want to uplift you, but I don’t know how.”
Men in this category are very loving and they want to support you and what you’re doing, but they support you through their love only and not action. What action would look like as if a man were to tell his friends, or contacts in business, that you are someone he trusts and recommends. Men are more likely to hire a woman coach and gender equity consultant when another man tells him that it is safe to work with you.
Another iteration of this is, “I’ll pray for you.” I’m talking about the kind spiritual man who legitimately wants you to do well but is telling you that he’ll pray for you, not the religious man who is praying for your unresolved sins and entry to heaven – those are different. The man who isn’t judging you and who is offering to pray for you is being nice, however, you may or may not need his prayer. You may need him to take some nice juicy action instead, or ask you, “How can I support you?”
If you are a man who genuinely loves a female entrepreneur in your life, how can you take action (a masculine attribute) to help catapult her work and make it more visible? What kind of masculine oomph do you want to contribute?
Do not assume that the world is ready to uplift female entrepreneurs. Don’t leave her to go it alone. If you love her, lift her up. It’s actionable and helpful.
6. “I act like I support you, but I really just want to fuck you.”
Mike was informed spiritually, had done a lot of his own inner work regarding masculine archetypes, and seemed to understand the feminine at least more than most. For years, I thought he actually understood my mission and supported it.
He asked me to model for a photo shoot on feminine archetypes, and I did it because I trusted his intentions at the time.
Later, while I was in the process of a breakup, he took me out to dinner and told me how he had always had feelings for me (a married man). If I had not averted the conversation, I do not know what he would have been willing to do that night.
He was also very wealthy, and years into our friendship, I asked him for his sincere help and uplifting my work, work that he continually told me the world needs, at a time when I did not have money for rent given the ups and downs of running your own business (especially as a female entrepreneur.)
Money can definitely bring out all of our most subconscious shit, and he seemed to revert into an uncomfortable ex-husband/father identity who had been taken advantage of before, being very stingy and claiming not to have resources to help.
All the talk of supporting my work was talk, and maybe even something he got off on. He wanted me to pose in front of his camera, which I did for his art exhibit, and yet when I needed actual resources to keep my life going, all support folded. This dynamic is a net-deficit to the feminine/woman and is self-serving to the man.
Men, it is a beautiful thing to actually put your financial resources into supporting a woman and female creator, single mother in your life, or, hell, just to make a woman’s life easier. It’s an aspect of healthy masculinity to be provisional. It’s not a man’s sole purpose, but if you are well-resourced, sharing is an attribute.
Men, if you A) reject money, or B) just want to fuck or self-aggrandize, PLEASE do not ask a female entrepreneur (or any woman) for her sex, time, or energy.
7. “That’s cute.”
There’s not much more that needs to be said about this one. I had men who saw me as a respected professional in my career in education and knew that I was formulating innovative, trauma-informed coaching solutions, and never took it seriously. “That’s cute. Good luck!”
This is, by the way, a primary energetic in the way the world responds to female entrepreneurship, regardless of gender. Many female friends will also click “like” a social media post but never directly refer to my work. There is a lack of awareness that we’re not here to entertain, we’re here to change the world and make an actual living while doing it.
(So please go refer your friends to ten female entrepreneurs as soon as you’re done reading this post. Thank you.)
8. “This is really great, but for some reason I won’t tell anybody about it”
It takes courage for a man to step into a healing space with a woman, especially when the healing space is about feminine /masculine and his vulnerability. I have received incredible testimonials from men who experienced life changing sessions, but to my knowledge (because I never got another client from their referrals), they kept it to themselves. So they experienced something incredible, but there was not an awareness or impetus to share their experience in order to uplift other men having a similar experience, potentially because of shame and stigma related to receiving this kind of help either individually or in their partnership.
If you have a vulnerable experience as a man, and it improves your life, do you think that other men would benefit from hearing about it? Tell them!
9. “See, here’s what you do…”
I love masculine business advice – when I ask for it. Some of the best coaches I’ve had were men, and I’ve also been known to ask male friends to “coach my inner masculine.” I came from the career field of education, where I wasn’t adept at business because I didn’t have to be. Business requires both feminine and masculine.
But the thing is, most women are heavily indoctrinated with how to “behave like men” in the business world and we don’t need unsolicited advice thrown at us about how to do business in the way that men have been accustomed to doing business.
Also, I’m intending to do business very differently – in actual feminine and masculine harmony – which is something very new to the world. In this way, we need to collaborate and learn from one another. I want to learn from you, and please be willing to learn from me, too.
10. “This is great, how can I support you?”
And then finally, we have the men who either have experienced the work or respect the woman trying to do the big thing of changing the world, and they decide on their own fruition to spread the word directly with their contacts!
They introduce you to their affiliates.
They repost your social media posts.
They refer you directly by word of mouth.
They offer to coach you when you give a TEDx.
They ask, “How can I support you?”
They let you know that you can always call on them.
They put actual cash behind your mission, no questions asked, or pay your rent if it comes to it.
They write testimonials voluntarily.
They invite you into their men’s groups to share your feminine perspective and expertise.
They put you in front of their organizations and let you teach.
There are these good men, and we need more support like this.
This man has done a lot of his own work to clear the other shadow-masculine behaviors.
He has an embodied understanding of himself, realizes we are all still growing, is comfortable with his own leadership and vulnerability both, and does not see you as competition. He has no need to be angry at women. He does not wrap his identity up in how he helps you or how you make him feel, rather, he knows that it is an aspect of conscious masculinity to uplift the work of women, and to make sure that the women in his community are feeling supported and provided for.
He uplifts the work of women because it is just the right thing for the masculine to do.
I used to get frustrated that more men weren’t supporting my work, and then I realized that the fact that they weren’t is a function of the very dynamics my work seeks to address.
Said differently – it takes consciousness and the transmutation of shadow-masculinity in order to actually, purely, and beautifully uplift the work of women because he knows it serves us all when he does. All men won’t automatically understand how to support women’s work, and that is a part of the process that my efforts actually seek to serve.
One of ten men might “get it,” and I can actually be of service, in the heart of the feminine, to the growing consciousness of the nine. That is my work to do because it’s a part of my mission – it’s not every woman’s work to do to help men “get it.”
And so to women, it is my advice that we not focus too much on what a man can not provide us while we do this thing of female entrepreneurship, even though that may be heartbreaking or a struggle and a half.
Keep going, ask for help from other women or men who you know do not have an alternate agenda to vampire-suck your energy, and give yourself a high-five for walking the delicate balance of being an independent way-shower and also not trying to hold up the whole damn world by yourself. We want and need support, and every-woman-for-herself is fucking exhausting. We want to call on and lean on our brothers, husbands, and lovers, and I believe in a world where we’re able to do this more and more as men heal their projections of the feminine. We also need to keep healing our anger and projections on men. We’ve got this. But shoo, I know it’s big, big work.
And men, to you I say:
Thank you for reading this!
Where do you see yourself in this “top 10?”
How have you responded to women owned businesses?
How do you directly or indirectly support women businesses, and how can you support women more directly, generously, and altruistically?
There is coaching available to men, women, organizations, and couples who are disentangling the energetics of gender and patriarchy via www.sarahpoet.com. Reach out and let’s do the good work of clearing our shit to better show up for one another.
Who can you recommend this article or my coaching work to today?? Thank you!
Now, go recommend nine more women to your network. Thank you.